Robert Wadlow


Robert Wadlow

1918 - 1940

His middle name, Pershing, was in honor of the World War I General Pershing, then commanding officer of the European conflict.

weighed a normal eight pounds, six ounces.


Robert was the first born of Addie and Harold Wadlow.


began to walk at 40 lbs


family lived in Roxana, Illinois.

1920 - 1926

At 5 years of age, attending kindergarten, Robert was 5' 6 1/2" tall.


He wore clothes that would fit a 17 year old boy.

Robert weighed 210 pounds and was 6' 5" tall.


His shoes were size 17 1/2.

Robert sold magazines to earn money for a savings account.

1929 - 1931

In 1931 the banks failed, and he lost his savings. He gave up the magazine business.

Robert takes his first airplane ride


Just before his 12th birthday Robert had his first checkup at Barnes Hospital (St. Louis), where the family learned of his over-active pituitary gland that caused his fantastic growth.

At the age of 13 he was the largest Boy Scout in the world.


His weight was 270 pounds, and his height was 7' 4". It took 14 yards of 36" wide material to make his Boy Scout uniform.

Robert received the largest birthday card ever made by the Alton Post Office.


It measured 14" x 22".

Robert attended the World's fair in Chicago.


It took two turns and 20¢ to get Robert through the turnstile.

Robert became Advertising Manager of the Tatler - Alton High School Year Book.

1935 - 1936

He graduated in the January class, 1936.

In February, Robert enrolled in Shurtleff College.


At age 18, he had reached eight feet, four inches tall


his size 37 shoes cost $100.00 a pair

Robert and his father made an extensive trip west


including Hollywood and most of the western states, as a goodwill ambassador for International Shoe Company. Thereafter, the firm made his shoes free of charge.

Robert Wadlow died July 15, 1940.


His weight was 490 pounds, his height was 8' 11.1". He was buried July 19, 1940 in Upper Alton Cemetery.



"Alton Museum of History and Art - Robert Pershing Wadlow - Alton's Gentle Giant." Alton Museum of History and Art - Robert Pershing Wadlow - Alton's Gentle Giant. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.